9 Feb 2004

Extent of damage and injury caused by the earthquakes in Indonesia's Papua province still unclear

8:41 am on 9 February 2004

Officials in Indonesia's Papua province say it could be days before the number dead and the extent of damage from two severe earthquakes is known.

The first quake hit a remote area around the coastal town of Nabire on Friday.

The quake registered six point nine on the Richter scale and damaged roads and communication facilities.

At least thirty people are now known to have been killed as buildings and homes collapsed -- hundreds of others have been injured.

On Saturday, a second quake hit measuring seven point one on the Richter scale hit relatively close to the town setting off panic among the residents.

Many people slept in the open fearing further earthquakes and have been refusing to return to their homes .

Officials say communications in the province are poor and it will take time for information to be collected in order to establish a clear picture of the situation.